Calls for a more personal approach

We work with colleagues, communicate with colleagues, sometimes spend years in their company, side by side (in normal times), but to what extent do we actually know them personally and understand what makes them unique? Is it something that is even necessary or desirable? Or can we simply go through the years chatting about our latest holiday by the coffee machine (or, currently, when meeting on Teams) and getting on with our workload with little attention to personal aspects?

Social sciences research shows that having greater levels of personal knowledge, leads to a more humanized perception of our teammates. The result is more responsiveness and less social undermining. Furthermore, it turns out that this more humanized, more compassionate understanding of the other has a greater positive effect on the relationship than liking, trusting or simply respecting the other. It is even more meaningful than how long you have known that person and how similar you feel the two of you are. After all, most of us like to share a little-known joyful aspect of our personal selves, and are pleasantly surprised when sincerely asked about it. We may even feel relieved to be asked about less pleasant aspects of our lives, for example when we go through challenging times.